Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Why Your Website Will Make Or Break Your Business

When running a business, there are a number of different factors that you must take into account in order to make your business both a short and long term success. Out of all these factors, one which is continually overlooked is the functionality of your website, not only though a desktop computer, but also via mobile devices such as phones and tablets.

Website Business Quality Promotion

In the early stages of a business, many tend to focus on just getting the site up and running as soon as possible, rather than looking to optimise integral aspects that are going to make your business a success. This can result in you not only losing out on some initial sales, but also damaging your brand image. An early hit to your brand could cause irreparable damage that may be difficult to come back from.

Mobile Commerce
Previously you would have created a website, checked to make sure it worked correctly in all desktop browsers and then put it out there for customers to visit. With the changes in technology comes a need to also enhance your website. Due to the influx of people using their mobile phones and tablets to browse the internet, it’s important to cater for these individuals when they visit your site. When running an ecommerce store you will usually find that around one-third of people visiting your website are doing so via one of these mobile devices. If you do not have a mobile friendly website, it will significantly reduce the chances of turning these visitors into customers.

If your website displays the same on a mobile device as it would on a desktop, it means that customer is going to have to scroll and zoom in order to click on the necessary buttons. This is a much more time consuming process and one which is probably going to annoy the user long before they reach the end stage.
A mobile friendly website has a much simpler display, using larger buttons as well as a much more efficient process, allowing customers to select their products and checkout with ease. Once implemented, you will quickly begin to see a rise in the number of completed transactions through mobile devices.

Layout
When someone lands on any website, they will make up their minds within the first few seconds whether they like the site or not. Particularly if they are searching across a number of different sites for particular products or services, a customer leaving your site at this tender stage will most likely result in them never coming back.
While the layout will vary depending on what you sell and what your brand image is, there are a number of aspects that should always be carried out no matter what.  While your home page is seen as the first port of call for most visiting customers, a lot of them will enter your site through various other landing pages. This stresses the importance for you to ensure that not only your home page, but all landing pages, have enticing images and informative text that is going to compel a customer to continue their journey through your website.

Although you want to provide visitors with as much information as you can, too much information is going to make your website looking cramped and unprofessional. Placing too much information on a page is just going to counteract your original intentions, making it difficult for customers to pick out key information they need. To make your website as appealing as possible, you should look to keep your website clean, spacing out your products and information accordingly, using as little text as possible.

Banners
They say pictures paint a thousand words and this phrase is never truer than when it comes to ecommerce. In addition to a strong, professional layout they provide, images are the key components in enticing customers to certain pages and products. A banner image allows you to provide your customers with a plethora of information without taking up the sort of space that text would require. However, the strength of the banner images comes not in the lack of text, but the instant exposure it provides. The trouble with text based information is that to be fully exposed, a customer is going to have to sit there and take the time to read all the necessary details. Image banners allow a customer to instantly take in information in a matter of seconds that would have taken minutes via text.

When selecting banners for your website, you should look at aspects that a customer is going to be interested in. For most customers, this comes in the form of new products, offers and other promotions you are running.

Checkout Process
While all other aspects of your website are designed to bring a customer to this process, how efficiently your customers can checkout is going to be the deciding factor as to whether you make the sale.

The quicker you can make the checkout process the happier the customer is going to be. While you generally need to take in as much information as possible for the purposes of taking payment and delivery, many websites offer an express checkout process allowing customers to instantly checkout much quicker. Rather than taking in a large amount of information, through an express checkout you would only require the key information such as address and card details, rather than other more miscellaneous details.

This efficiency in the checkout process not only benefits first time customers, but also repeat business. As a customer would have previously purchased from you, all of their account details should already be saved on your system. This means that when they next come to make a purchase, you are going to be able to automatically populate all of their details, saving them a large amount of time.

In order to cater for a wide customer base, you should look to try and be as flexible as your business can allow. In terms of the checkout process, this comes in the form of payment and delivery options. The more options you provide visiting customers, the happier they are going to be.

Social Commerce
The success of a business comes in not only being able to entice customers to purchase a product, but also providing a platform by which these customers can then promote their purchase. None do this better than social commerce. If a customer comes across a product they like on your website, you should look to have social sharing buttons on each of your product pages. This then allows the customer to share the product on their own profile pages or Facebook, Twitter and other key social media platforms.

The benefit of social commerce comes in the ability to promote your products and brand to a wider audience, while also increasing the opportunity for you to generate traffic and sales. If a customer shares a product on their wall, it means that your product has then been exposed to their followers. These are people you have reached with your brand and product that you may not have reached via other marketing methods. What’s more, this exposure has come at no cost for you in terms of money or time as this has been shared entirely by the customer.

As a purchasing customer generally has similar interests and tastes to their friends, if they share a product on their social media accounts, there is a possibility that one of their friends may also like the product and follow in their friend’s footsteps by purchasing the item. This is a sale you would never have achieved had you not had the social commerce function implemented.

Retention
Though a large part of a business’ success comes in being able to bring those first time buyers through to your website, the real long term success becomes in being able to retain those individual to become repeat purchasers. As your customers are a diverse group, it is going to take different strategies to constantly engage them all.

Retaining customers can come in a number of different forms such as social media engagement, email marketing, as well as newsletters and other content. Creating this engagement allows you constantly expose past customers to new products and offers, enabling you to entice them to your website.

However, this retention not only comes in reaching past customers, but also turning people with an interest in your site into first time buyers. Often, a number of people will visit your store as part of a research process looking for the best price for a particular product.  While they are on your site, you should look to try and engage them through a number of different methods such as an enquiry form or newsletter sign up section. This not only allows them to engage with you, but also gives you their personal details, particularly their email address. Now that you have this information you can look to help them through answering their question or sending promotional content to their subscribed email address with hope of helping to transition them into a buyer.

When sending out this content for the purposes of retention, it’s important not to overdo it. Sending out too much content over a short space of time will reduce the impact your marketing material has, as well as the likelihood of a customer coming through to your website for another purchase.
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